Everyone has a home.
Home is place where all the worries of the world can melt away, and a true state of belonging can be felt. Fort Collins and Colorado State University have been trying to provide this to their growing class sizes and their athletes that come from around the country.
For Colorado State senior shortstop Haley Hutton, the decision to play for the Rams was a passage into the home in Fort Collins that her family had begun more than 50 years ago. Today, Hutton will be remembered as one of, if not, the best softball players to ever take the field for the Rams.
There really is no place like home.
A Legacy Begins
Fred Oglesby came to CSU in the fall of 1961 to play football for the Rams, who played their home games at Colorado Field on campus since Hughes Stadium was still seven years away from opening. Oglesby was the first one in his family to attend CSU, and he was also the first college athlete produced from them.
It did not take long for Oglesby to realize the amount of strength and conditioning needed to be a student athlete. That requirement pushed him to get a degree in sports medicine from CSU. He stopped playing football after his freshman year to pursue his athletic training passion, while also meeting his soon-to-be wife along the way.
Oglesby went on to graduate from CSU and ended up with a job down in Amarillo, Texas as an athletic trainer for a local high school. He and his wife had their first child while living in Texas, but soon moved to Pueblo, Colorado for the head athletic training job at the University of Southern Colorado, also known as CSU Pueblo.
While in Pueblo, Oglesby famously saved a football player’s life after he was struck by lightning during practice. He was able to use a new and growing procedure known as CPR; he was one of the first people to be able to use it successfully.
He worked there from 1968 to 1974 and had two more children, one being his only daughter Christine. In 1974, Oglesby made his way back to where it all began, as he took the job as head athletic trainer for Colorado State. He held on to that position for 31 years before retiring in 2005.
Oglesby kept a close eye on the athletes under him. He was hard on all of the students he helped keep in shape and demanded their best, but always conveyed his love for them and was respected for it.
“He was hard on everybody and he was mean to everybody, but at the same time he loved everybody,” Christine said. “You always knew where you stood with him.”
The foundation for a family had been laid by Oglesby and he built upon that bond to CSU once his children grew up to become college athletes themselves.
The Next Generation
Growing up as the daughter of a head athletic trainer at a large university, life came with many perks. Christine, or Chris for short, remembers roaming around Moby Arena’s halls, getting lost with her brothers and getting yelled at by her father for putting their hands in the ice being used on athletes.
“We were always at Moby,” Chris said. “It was fun growing up here…my brothers and I we did grow up there and ran around the tunnels and got lost and got in trouble and violated a lot of things I’m sure.”
Life was fun for Chris and her brothers having a small stadium as their own personal playground, but an athletic training job did not mean an easy life. Chris’ parents did not have enough money to send all of their children to college, so a scholarship of some kind was necessary.
Fortunately enough, Chris was offered a scholarship to play volleyball for CSU despite receiving letters from other universities. Her parents never pressured her to accept the offer, but she did because CSU felt like home.
“My parents did not have a whole lot of money so I needed to go where I could get money,” Chris said. “Everything just kind of came (to CSU)…This really was my home. I felt comfortable there and every time I walked on campus I felt like it was my place. It was good, it was meant to be.”
Volleyball was not meant to be though, as Chris traded the net for the diamond and began a softball career at CSU. The switch worked out well for Chris, who was able to have not only great individual success, but also helped lead her team to back-to-back conference titles in 1989 and 1990.
The speedy 5-foot-3 outfielder finished her career with a .305 batting average as a lefty leadoff-hitter learning how to implement the newly established idea of slap hitting. She led her team with 21 runs scored during her senior season after scoring 29 the year before. Her .354 batting average during her sophomore 1988 season helped her achieve a second-team all-region selection which she achieved again as a senior.
Chris used her speed to steal 32 bases over the course of four seasons which, at the time, was the CSU record. The record was broken the following season, but nevertheless, Chris was at the helm of a dominant era for CSU softball.
“I don’t remember everything that happened,” Chris said reflecting on her career. “The team did great, that’s all that matters…One time someone said to me ‘did you know you were second-team all-region this year’ and I’m like no I had no idea.”
One person there to watch all of Chris’ success was her father, Fred Oglesby, who was normally on the sidelines for only football and basketball games, but assigned himself to softball once Chris arrived on campus.
“Most kids get away from their parents when they go to college,” Chris said. “I got to see him every day.”
The Oglesby family was able to build a new layer of CSU athletic tradition in an environment filled with hard work and dedication. The legacy only grew stronger, and maybe even faster in 2011.
Chris’ major at CSU was construction management, as she looked to pursue a career in architecture and that was the closest major offered. The lack of a specific architecture major might have been fate though, as Chris found a tutor with a similar schedule to hers while being an athlete.
Her tutor, Randy Hutton, became her husband and the couple had three blonde-hair, blue-eyed girls: Taylor, Haley and Bridgette.
The sisters were subjected to more recruitment than their mom because collegiate athletics had grown in accessibility. Due to this, the girls looked elsewhere besides CSU, but a childhood filled with the same misadventures around Moby their mom experienced brought them the comforting feel of a home in Fort Collins.
“I never felt pressured to come here by my parents,” Bridgette said. “The feeling of being here was more like I was at home.”
“My freshman year of high school is when I verbally committed (to CSU),” Haley said. “I felt like I was kind of cheating on CSU if I went out and pursued other schools.”
Building a home requires quite a bit of time, money and effort; all of which embodied the Hutton’s parents’ devotion to their children’s athletics.
“It wasn’t so much hard on us as it was for our parents just because they put so much time and money into club softball,” Haley said.
“Just as long as they were getting an education,” Chris said. “We are very, very thankful for the opportunities they have gotten.”
It was not always about softball though, as all three sisters played multiple sports in high school. They could have chosen to play a different sport in college, but the love of softball was the winner and their mom never pushed them to play it, instead wanting them to be happy with whatever they chose.
“Oh gosh yea,” Chris said about secretly wishing they would play softball.
So starting off for the Hutton lineup was Taylor, batting leadoff for the trio of sisters as she was part of current head coach Jen Fisher’s first recruiting class in 2011 coming from Valley High School in Platteville, Colorado. She saw the most action during her senior season when she started all 56 games and hit .281 with 32 runs scored and was second on the team in on base percentage at .449, with only her sister Haley ahead of her.
“(Taylor’s) senior year, she went out with a bang and was just like ‘let’s go’,” Bridgette said. “Taking that into every single pitch, every single out would be (what I would want from Taylor’s game).”
Bridgette still has time to gain that intensity, as she is only a sophomore and is just starting to come into her own. In the Rams’ last series against San Jose State, she had the best game of her collegiate career, pitching a complete game, three-hit shutout to lead the Rams to a series clinching victory.
“If I could be good at one thing, I wish I could have (Bridgette’s) changeup,” Haley said. “She is known for her changeup.”
A good changeup might be the only thing missing from Haley’s game as she came to Fort Collins at the start of Taylor’s junior year. Haley led the team as a freshman in batting average by hitting .413 and put up an on-base percentage of .521—the 31st highest in the entire country. She also led the team in runs scored with 52 trots across home plate.
Haley never slowed down and has led the Rams in batting average the past two years, and also led the Mountain West last season in on-base percentage (.519). Entering the 2017 season, her .394 career batting average ranks as the highest ever at CSU and her .404 average this season will likely maintain her status.
The pre-season All-American honorable mention also broke the record for most runs scored in a career at CSU against San Diego State earlier this season. Her four-run weekend put her at 167 total runs and the number only continues to climb for the Rams lefty leadoff, just like her mother.
“I do feel pressure, but it’s a good type of pressure,” Haley said on the team’s reliance on her. “It’s not so much about the records or how well you do, it is kind of the impact you make on the girls and how the girls impact you. I hope they remember me as fun and loving the game.”
Haley’s entire family will be remembered that way based off of their personality and good sense of humor. That is reflected in Haley’s nickname, Peach, given to her as a freshman due to her resemblance to Princess Peach from the Mario Brothers video games.
“Her freshman year we had two Haley’s and they were in the same class so we had to decipher between the two,” Fisher said. “Her demeanor and the way that she is, she’s just kind of a peach. It matches her personality because she is super positive and energetic and enthusiastic and she’s just kind of a peach of a kid.”
Being the oldest, Taylor took after her mother and acted like that when she was on the field with Haley and around her sisters in general.
“Taylor is the matriarch of the three,” Fisher said. “She’s also the biggest fan and biggest cheerleader of her younger sisters so she is protective, but motherly a little bit at the same time.”
The pressure of being the youngest and wearing your mom’s No.13 is heavy, but Bridgette does not let it affect her too much. She plays a completely different position from the other two being a pitcher, and the fact that she acts more like her dad has differentiated herself and earned her the nickname of Randy.
“Sometimes we are like ‘Bridgette you are acting like Randy,’” Fisher said. “I always told them that ‘your family story is a really neat story so a lot of people may try to compare you, but I’ll treat you as individuals,’ and they have done really great with that.”
The Oglesby/Hutton family has cemented their place as one of those athletic families that dominant in any sport they try. But at the end of the day, they are happy to just be able to share time on the field with each other.
“My favorite part is when I’m pitching and I turn around and see (Haley) at shortstop,” Bridgette said. “Knowing it is her last year I kind of take it moment by moment, looking at her and just pointing at her like ‘you got me.’”
This being Haley’s last season and Bridgette having two more, the need for more Hutton’s will be a great concern for coach Fisher in the near future. With Taylor being graduated and having a “serious boyfriend” as Fisher describes, help may be on the way sooner than she thinks.
“We teased Chris and Randy five years ago,” Fisher said. “We were like ‘have some more kids please.’ Now we are teasing Taylor like ‘let’s go start building a family.’”
The Hutton home in Fort Collins has been established and it is up to the next generation of their family to decide if they want to move in. They could choose to go elsewhere, but home is where the heart is and the Hutton’s heart will always beat to the tune of “I’m proud to be a CSU Ram.”
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajwrules44